On Tuesday night, Liberty Medal winner Malala Yousafzai reminded us all that liberty comes at a high price, but we have the ability to change things for the better.
Thanks to our friends and partners at 6ABC in Philadelphia, we are able to present all of Malala’s inspiration acceptance speech. The entire video is below or available at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ariVhZrfsq4
Here are selected quotes from here speech:
On the Liberty Medal and Nobel honors - and her homework
I thank the people and especially the children of Philadelphia for their warm welcome and their love and support. And I want to say hello especially to all the students from Philadelphia who I invited … it is a great honor for me to have you all.
Dear brothers and sisters, I am honored to receive this medal. It’s not just a golden medal that you wear, it is hope , it is courage and it is support. This encourages me to continue in my campaign for education and to fight for the rights for every child.
Sometimes people forget I am a student. I am 17 and I have exams coming very soon. And last week I told my teacher that I could not do my homework because of the Nobel Peace Prize. That excuse didn’t work. She told me, you should finish your homework tomorrow – do it.
On the right to an education and the Taliban
Dear Brothers and Sisters, tonight I speak for those without voice. I speak for every child whose right to an education has been neglected. I speak up for those girls who are persecuted. I speak up for every girl who has denied her right for safe and quality education. …
Some of you may know my story. I was born in Swat Valley and I was getting quality education. I was learning and going to school. But suddenly in my life when was about 10 or 11, I saw terrorism. I saw people who are against education. I saw the Taliban. They denied women’s rights. And at that time, I decided I would speak on the ban against education and I would speak against terrorism. I would speak for my right, for peace and equality.
And I decided it because I had two options. One was not to speak and wait to be killed. And the second was to speak and then be killed. And I chose the second one because I did not want to live in a situation of oppression, I did not want to live in a situation of terrorism. And some people say, why did you chose to speak up? I get quite surprised, I say, why should I not speak? It is our duty to speak in these situations, when our people and when our country needs us.
And that is why I spoke, because I felt a responsibility for myself. I need to speak up for my rights and the girls in Swat Valley, for the right to go to school.
As I said, I was not afraid of anything, except for ghosts and a few dragons. I was not afraid of anyone, I was not afraid of anything. Continuing my education was my dream, and I wanted to continue to do it. But things did not remain the same, things changed because of struggle of people. I did not know one day I would be shot and I realized that liberty comes at a high price. And the Taliban attacked me in order to silence me. But I think they committed a big mistake. They did a big mistake because nothing changed in my life. Weakness, fear and hopelessness died, and strength, power and courage was born.
But it was actually the prayers of people that gave me the second life. I am thankful to God and I am thankful to people for their support. … that did not let me lose hope. And that is why I started, I re-started this campaign, and I did not say I was not going to do it anymore.
On changing the future
The road to education, peace and equality is quite long. When I was young I was thinking that in a second I would be able to send every child to school. But as I am having more and more experience I am realizing that the journey is quite long. But if we continue our hard work, we’ll soon achieve our goal.
One hundred years ago, women were not expecting that one day they would have the right to vote, maybe a few decades ago, people were not expecting there would be no discrimination on the basis of skin color, and now we are seeing these changes. We are seeing these as reality. We are seeing in many countries that women are allowed to vote, we are seeing that there is no discrimination on the basis of the skin color, or the language that you speak. Even though there are in some countries, but it has been decreasing.
We should be hopeful that the struggle we do does bring change. And I am hopeful that we do achieve our goals. But we need to work together. History is neither sent from the sky not does it get made up by itself. It is we who make history. It is we who become the history. So let us make history, bring change, by becoming the change. Let us not forget that one book, one pen, one child and one teacher can change the world. Thank you so much.
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